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Specification for Cast in Place Concrete Diaphragm Walling

Design
1

All work shall be carried out in accordance with good engineering


practice and related to an adequate site investigation. The
recommendations of the codes of practice CECP No. 2: EARTH
RETAINING STRUCTURES and CP 2004: FOUNDATIONS, shall be followed
in so far as they are applicable to the construction of diaphragm
walling.
(Note for guidance: The site investigation should be designed to
give the information required for the design of diaphragm walling
and needs to be fully comprehensive).
(Note for
guidance: All
references
to
Codes
of
Practice
and British Standards shall refer to the latest edition in print).

The maximum compressive stress in the concrete of a wall shall be


that given in CP 114: REINFORCED CONCRETE, for the appropriate
conditions of use (or BS 8110:
STRUCTURAL USE OF CONCRETE).
Except with the approval of the Engineer, permanent direct
compressive stress shall be limited to a value of less than 7.0
N/sq. mm and compressive stress due to combined bending and direct
stress to 9.0 N/sq. mm.

Steel reinforcement for use in diaphragm walls shall be


designed in accordance with the recommendations of CP 114:
REINFORCED CONCRETE (or BS 8110: STRUCTURAL USE OF CONCRETE)
except that if using deformed bars the increases allowed in
permissible bond stress in the Codes may not be applied but a 10
per cent increase over equivalent plain bars may be allowed.

The minimum cover to the main bars of steel reinforcement is to


be 75 mm and the minimum clear spacing between main bars shall be
100 mm.

The design of the wall shall take account of the stresses due
to active and passive soil pressures, due to surcharges, due to
the combined horizontal and vertical forces induced by ground
anchors and
/or horizontal strut used to maintain stability of
the wall, due to retained ground water where applicable, and due
to
the
worst
condition
arising
in
the
stages
of
subsequent excavation, propping and anchoring and to other special
conditions. The design shall take into account both the permanent
and temporary states of stress which will arise during the
life of the structure.

The assumptions made and the factors of safety which have been
used in the design of the wall are to be stated.

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All the imposed loads including those arising from the soil taken
into account in the design are to be clearly stated.

The design shall take into account the deflection of the wall.
Consideration shall be given to the need for any underpinning,
grouting or soil treatment required to maintain the stability of
adjacent foundations during the construction and exposure of the
diaphragm wall.

Walls constructed by diaphragm wall techniques may be used for the


retention of earth, the provision of reaction to applied lateral
forces and the support of vertical loads simultaneously, provided
that evidence can be produced by testing or otherwise, that such
loads can be supported in the ground conditions known to exist on
the site.
(Note for guidance: Friction or adhesion on that part of any wall
above the
related
main
excavation
level
or
where
the
contact between the soil and the wall face could be lost as a
result of deflection should not be taken as contributing to the
capacity of the wall to carry imposed structural loads).

10

All the panels in any continuous length of wall should be designed


according to compatible principles.
(Note for guidance: For example, the use of panels spanning
horizontally between alternate cantilever panels is generally to
be avoided unless shear transference can be verified).

11

The thickness of wall and the provisional panel lengths


required are to be as detailed on the drawings. Provision is to
be made for all recesses, anchorage positions, inserts and special
details as shown on the drawings, and steel reinforcement shall be
fixed to accommodate these items.
(Note for guidance: Where close to adjacent structures the soil
retained
by
a
diaphragm
wall
is
subject
to
surcharge
loads, careful consideration should be given to the use of reduced
panel lengths
in order to increase the factor of safety and
decrease the possibility of trench wall failures. The maximum
panel excavation length acceptable should be stated by the
Engineer
in
the
tender
documents.
The
minimum
panel
excavation length required to accommodate the excavating equipment
should be stated by the Specialist Contractor with the tender. The
effects of deflection of the wall on both adjacent structures and
services must be considered).

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(Note for guidance: Where boxes are required in a wall for the
formation of recesses, consideration must be given to the
effect of the boxes on the strength of the wall, the placing
of reinforcement through the boxes, and the effect of the boxes on
the flow of concrete during placing. Boxes must be positioned so
as to pass into the panel excavation with a clearance).
12

Guide walls are to be designed with continuous reinforcement


and are to be constructed to comply with the drawings. They are to
be cast on and against firm ground or alternatively, where it is
desired to shutter both faces of the guide wall, all back-filling
behind the wall is to be done using an approved lean mix concrete
unless otherwise agreed by the Engineer.
(Note for guidance: The top of the guide wall should, preferably,
be not less than 1.5 m above any standing ground water level, and
guide walls must be capable of being constructed in the dry).
Materials
Concrete

13

Cement shall be Ordinary Portland cement complying with B.S. 12 or


Sulphate Resisting cement complying with BS 4027.

14

Aggregates shall comply with BS 882.


The shell content shall not
be greater than the limits given in the table:
__________________________________________________________
Nominal max. size
Shell content
of aggregate
max. per cent
__________________________________________________________
40 mm
2
20 mm
5
Sand
30
__________________________________________________________
The chloride ion content of the aggregate shall be such that the
chloride ion content of the mixed concrete shall not exceed
1.2 per
cent
for
unreinforced concrete
or
0.2
per
cent
for reinforced or prestressed concrete.
(Note for guidance: Aggregate of a size in excess of 20 mm will
normally only be used in non-reinforced concrete diaphragm walls).

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15

Clean water, free from acids and other impurities and


accordance with the BS 3148 shall be used in the making
concrete.

16

The slump of the concrete shall normally be in accordance


the following standard:
Minimum slump
Range

in
of

with

150 mm
150 mm to collapse

Unless otherwise approved by the Engineer, a minimum cement


content of 400 kg/cu. m is to be employed in making concrete which
is to be placed by tremie methods under a bentonite slurry, in
accordance with CP 2004.
The concrete mix shall flow easily in the tremie pipe and shall be
designed to give a dense concrete when placed by the tremie
method.
Aggregates shall comply with gradings of Zones 2, 3 or 4 of BS 882
and shall preferably be of naturally rounded gravel and sand.
Water cement ratio shall not exceed 0.60.
(Note for guidance: The desirable range of slump is from 175 mm to
200 mm).
17

Any additive used in the concrete must be stated.

18

Ready mixed concrete may be used and shall comply with BS 1926.
(Note for guidance: BRMCA Reprint 71-1: "The Specification and Use
of
Ready
Mixed
Concrete
for
Cast
in
Place
Piling" gives some useful information regarding the use of ready
mixed concrete which is to be placed through a tremie pipe).

19

Test cubes shall be prepared and tested in accordance with BS 1881


as required in the contract.
(Note for guidance: Opinions vary as to the number of test cubes
which should be required on a diaphragm wall contract but it is
suggested that 4 cubes be taken for every panel).

20

In cold weather, ice and snow shall be excluded from the materials
used in the manufacture of concrete for use in diaphragm walls.
Aggregates must not be heated to more than 38 deg. C, and the
concrete when placed must have a minimum temperature of 5 deg. C.
Reinforcement

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21

All reinforcing steel shall be in accordance with the appropriate


British Standard unless otherwise agreed.

23

The welding of steel reinforcement required in the works shall be


carried out only by techniques which can be shown to maintain the
full strength of the structural reinforcement.
(Note for guidance: The drawings should show all the steel
reinforcement necessary including that required for lifting
stiffening and splicing. They should also show clearly the type of
steel required. Mild Steel and High Tensile Steel of similar
diameters and type should be avoided. The drawings should also
indicate clearly the orientation of the cage in relation to the
earth face and the excavated face. It may be advisable to leave
the preparation of detail drawings of reinforcement, which should
take into account all the tolerances stated in Clause 34, until
after acceptance of tender when actual methods of construction are
known).

23

The steel reinforcing cage shall be clearly marked to indicate its


correct orientation for proper insertion into the trench.
Bentonite

24

Bentonite, as supplied to the site and prior to mixing, shall


be in
accordance
with
specification
No.
DFCP
4
of
the
Oil Companies Materials Association, London.
A certificate is to be obtained by the Specialist Contractor from
the manufacturer of the bentonite powder, stating from which
manufacturer's consignment the material delivered to site has been
taken, and showing properties of the consignment as determined by
the manufacturer. This certificate shall be made available to the
Engineer on request.
(Note for guidance: The properties which should normally be given
by
the
manufacturer are
the
apparent
viscosity
range
(centipoises) and the gell strength range (N/sq.m.) for solids in
water).

25

26

The bentonite powder shall be mixed thoroughly with clean fresh


water. The percentage of bentonite used to make the slurry shall
be such as to maintain the stability of the trench excavation.
(Note for guidance: In the case of certain estuarine clays of very
low strength, it may not be possible to produce a slurry which
alone will maintain the stability of trenches. Care also needs to
be taken in very permeable ground).
Control tests are to be carried out on the bentonite slurry using
suitable apparatus, to determine the following parameters:
(a)

Freshly mixed bentonite slurry

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The density of the freshly mixed bentonite slurry shall be


measured daily as a check on the quality of the slurry
being formed. The measuring device is to be calibrated to
read within + 0.005 g/ml.
_
(Note for guidance: A satisfactory way of measuring the
density of a bentonite slurry is by means of a mud balance.
The following
table
shows
the
relationship
between
the concentration expressed as a percentage by weight, and
the density:
_____________________________________________
Concentration per cent
Density g/ml
_____________________________________________
3
1.017
4
1.023
5
1.028
6
1.034
_____________________________________________
(These figures relate
of British origin).
(b)

to a typical bentonite

material

Bentonite slurry supplied to trench excavation

In average soil conditions the following tests shall be


applied to the bentonite supplied to the trench, and the
results shall generally be within the ranges stated in the
table below:
__________________________________________________________________
Item to be measured

Range of results
Test method
at 20 degree C
__________________________________________________________________
Density
Viscosity
Shear strength
(10 min gel
strength)
pH

Less than 1.10 g/ml

Mud density balance.

33 - 75 seconds

Marsh Cone method.

1.4 to 10 N/sq.m.

Shearometer.

9.5 - 12

pH indicator paper
strips.
__________________________________________________________________
Tests to determine density, viscosity, shear strength and
pH value shall be carried out initially until a consistent

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working pattern has been established, taking into account


the mixing process, any blending of freshly mixed bentonite
slurry and previously used bentonite slurry, and any process
which may be employed to remove impurities from previously
used bentonite slurry.
When the results show consistent behaviour, the tests for
shear strength and pH value may be discontinued, and tests
to determine density and viscosity only shall be carried out
as agreed with the Engineer. In the event of a change in the
established working pattern, the additional tests for shear
strength and pH value shall be reintroduced for a period if
required by the Engineer.
(Note for guidance: Freshly mixed bentonite slurry should
comply with the requirements of the table consistently,
provided a normal concentration has been selected. Where
bentonite slurry is used once only and then discarded, the
tests set out in the table should not be necessary beyond a
short initial period, unless some alteration is made to the
concentration or mixing procedure.
Where bentonite slurry is re-used, and possibly blended
with freshly mixed slurry, or has chemical additions made
to preserve its properties, there will be a need for routine
checking throughout the work, particularly in regard to the
tests for density and viscosity.
The frequency of testing may initially need to be on a
panelby panel basis where bentonite slurry becomes heavily
contaminated during its first use (eg. fine sand soil
conditions) and may in other cases (eg. mainly clay soil
conditions) be on a daily basis where contamination is
slight. Subsequent frequency will need to be agreed between
the Engineer and Specialist Contractor in the light of the
test results obtained.
In those cases where a mechanical process is employed to
remove contaminating solids from the slurry, the frequency
of testing will depend on the circumstances and the
equipment employed. The
Specialist
Contractor
should
indicate to the Engineer prior to the commencement of the
contract, that he intends to employ such a method, and tests
should be carried out as for re-used and blended slurries).
c)

Bentonite slurry in trench prior to placing concrete


Prior to placing concrete in any panel, the Specialist
Contractor shall ensure that heavily contaminated bentonite
slurry, which could impair the free flow of concrete from
the tremie pipe, has not accumulated in the bottom of the
trench. The proposed method for checking this item is to be
stated with the tender, and is to be agreed with the
Engineer prior to the commencement of the contract. If the
bentonite slurry is found to exhibit properties outside the

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agreed appropriate range, then it shall be modified or


replaced until the required agreed condition is achieved.
(Note for guidance: One method of identifying contaminated
bentonite slurry is to take a sample of the slurry from near
the bottom of the trench excavation (say about 0.2 m above
the base of the trench) and to carry out a density test on
this using a Mud Balance. Where this method is employed,
the density determined should not be greater than 1.3 g/ml
to enable satisfactory concrete placing).
(Note for guidance: Details of apparatus and test methods
referred to in Clause 26 may be obtained from the following
publication:
Recommended Practice : Standard by American Petroleum
Institute, New York City 1957. Ref. API RP29. Sections I,
II and VI relate to the above mentioned tests).
(Note for guidance: The result of tests on bentonite slurry
referred to in Clause 26 should be related to a temperature
of 20 deg C approximately).
27

The temperature of the water used in mixing bentonite slurry, and


of the slurry supplied to the trench excavation, is to be not less
than 5 deg C.

28

During construction the level of bentonite slurry in the trench


shall be maintained within the depth of the guide walls, and at a
level not less than 1.0 m above the level of external standing
ground water.

29

In the event of a sudden loss of bentonite slurry, the trench


shall be backfilled without delay and the instructions of the
Engineer shall be obtained.

30

Where
saline
or
chemically
contaminated
ground
water occurs, special measures shall be taken as required by the
Engineer to modify the bentonite slurry.
(Note for
the nature
frequently
hydrated in

31

guidance:
The modification required depends on
of the contamination. In saline conditions it is
necessary to ensure that the bentonite is fully
fresh water before supplying it to the trench).

All reasonable steps shall be taken to prevent spillage


of bentonite slurry on the site away from the immediate
vicinity of the wall. Discarded bentonite slurry which has been
pumped from the trench is to be removed promptly from the site.

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Construction
32

The
proposed
method
of
excavation
is
to
be
the Specialist Contractor at the time of tendering.

stated

by

(Note for guidance: The use of chiselling to overcome obstructions


may cause difficulty in maintaining the stability of the trench
and it is therefore an item to be treated with caution. It should
also be allowed for in preparing the Bill of Quantities, where the
possibility of its use is apparent).
33

Steps are to be taken to avoid damage to panels which


have recently
been
cast.
In
deciding
the
sequence
of
panel construction, the Specialist Contractor shall take this into
account.
(Note for Guidance: If the Engineer requires some specific
sequence of panel construction, this should be made known
to the Specialist Contractor in the tender documents).

34

The construction shall be carried out in accordance with the


following normal tolerances:
The finished face of the guide wall towards the trench and on the
side of the trench nearest to any subsequent main excavation shall
be vertical and shall represent the reference line. There shall be
no ridges or abrupt changes on the face and its variation from a
straight line or specified profile shall not exceed + 15 mm in 3
m.
From this face the minimum clear distance between the faces of the
guide walls shall be the specified diaphragm wall thickness plus
25 mm, and the maximum distance shall be the specified diaphragm
wall thickness plus 50 mm.
(Note for guidance: Where curved walls are to be constructed, the
clearance distance between the guide wall faces may have to be
increased).
The wall face to be exposed and the ends of panels shall
be vertical to within a tolerance of 1:100.
In addition
to this tolerance, a tolerance of 100 mm shall be allowed for
protrusions resulting from irregularities in the ground as
excavated, beyond the general face of the wall.
(Note for guidance: It should be borne in mind that, within the
limits of the verticality tolerance specified, a wall panel
may show an angular deviation at any level when viewed in plan.
Such a deviation is usually only important in regard to the
exposed face of the wall and will be a function of depth.
Tolerances are not normally necessary for this item, but
where they are considered to be essential they should be agreed

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with the Engineer, taking into account the above factors, the
panel length and the panel position, in relation to the particular
site circumstances).
(Note for guidance: Designers should have in mind that diaphragm
walls normally consist of a series of panels and especially in the
case
of
deep
walls,
the
wall
thickness
should
be
carefully considered in relation to the permitted tolerances for
excavation).
(Note for guidance: The protrusion tolerance of 100 mm refers to
homogeneous clays. In highly fissured clays, sands, gravels or
loose or soft grounds the tolerance should be increased unless
this tolerance has been taken into account in the design and
setting out, provision needs to be made in preparing the Bill of
Quantities for any cutting back required).
Where recesses are to be formed by inserts in the wall, they shall
be positioned within vertical and horizontal tolerances of 150 mm.
(Note
for
guidance:
Horizontal
inserts
cannot
be
placed
continuously between panels in normal diaphragm wall construction,
but must be curtailed at the end of the reinforcing cage).
The tolerances in positioning reinforcement shall be as follows:
Longitudinal tolerance of cage head at the
wall and measured along the trench: + 75 mm.
_

top

of

the

guide

Vertical tolerance at cage head in relation to top of guide wall:


+ 50
_
mm.
The reinforcement shall
the casting of each panel.

be

maintained

in

position

during

(Note for guidance: In the design of diaphragm walls, the


distance between reinforcement cages in adjacent panels must take
into account both the longitudinal positional tolerance and the
shape of the stop end in relation to the shape of the cage).

35

Stop ends, inserted prior to placing concrete in a panel shall be


clean and have a smooth regular surface. They shall be adequately
restrained to prevent horizontal movement during concreting.

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36

Safety precautions shall be taken throughout the construction of


diaphragm
walls
in
accordance
with
the
statutory
requirements listed in CP 2004: FOUNDATIONS.
Concrete Placing

37

Concrete shall be placed continuously by one or more tremie pipes,


and care shall be taken during placing to avoid contamination of
the concrete. Where two or more pipes are used in the same panel
simultaneously, care shall be taken to ensure that the concrete
level at each pipe position is maintained nearly equal.

38

The tremie pipe shall be clean, watertight and of adequate


diameter to allow the free flow of concrete. The tremie shall
extend to the bottom of the trench excavation prior to the
commencement of concrete pouring, and care shall be taken to
ensure that all bentonite slurry is expelled from the tube during
the initial charging process.
Sufficient embedment of the tremie pipe in concrete shall be
maintained throughout concrete pouring to prevent re-entry of
bentonite slurry into the pipe.

39

The concrete pour for any diaphragm wall panel shall be completed
in such a manner and within such time that the concrete above the
foot of the tremie remains workable until the casting of the panel
is complete.

40

The effective trimmed final wall level shall generally be taken as


250 mm below the top of the guide wall when concrete is cast to
the top of the trench.
For trimmed final wall levels below this level the tolerance
of the cast concrete profile shall be a minimum of 150 mm and
a maximum of 600 mm above the specified wall level plus an
additional allowance of 150 mm over the maximum tolerance for each
one metre of final wall depth specified below the top of the guide
wall.
(Note for guidance: Special problems occur with deep specified
final
wall
levels, when it
becomes
difficult
to
locate
adjacent panels precisely and when backfill over previously
completed panels cannot be retained without special measures such
as
backfilling
above
final
wall
level
using
lean
concrete mixes. Such circumstances require appropriate items to be
included in the Bill of Quantities).

41

The extraction of stop ends shall be carried out at such a time


and in such a manner as to avoid causing damage to concrete placed
against it.

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42

The method of forming joints and the equipment used shall be such
that all solids are removed from the end of the adjacent panel by
the excavating equipment.
The Specialist Contractor shall be
responsible for the repair of any joint where, on full exposure of
the wall, visible water leaks resulting from faulty materials or
workmanship are found.
(Note for guidance: Seepage which may result from differential
wall deflections or the installation of anchor points, are
not considered to be included under this item. A provisional item
should be included in the Bill of Quantities to allow for any
special measures to deal with such seepages).
Records

43

The following records shall be kept for each panel completed:


Panel number
Top of guide wall level
Bottom of guide wall level
Top level of wall as cast in relation to top of guide wall
Depth of base of panel from top of guide wall
Date panel excavated
Date panel concreted
Length of panel
Thickness of wall
Strata log
Cubes taken
Volume of concrete used
Details of steel reinforcement (cage type)
Details
of
any
obstructions
encountered
and
time
in overcoming them.

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spent